Liban Soleman became a prominent voice earlier this year with his groundbreaking intervention that went viral, drawing attention to an astonishing achievement: Africa’s creative industries, led by icons like Davido, Burna Boy, Wizkid, Tems, and Rema, surpassed traditional exports like coffee and cocoa in revenue generation, yet see minimal earnings within the continent. This revelation set the stage for his recent, game-changing strategy at Afriexim Bank. Soleman presented an ingenious proposal utilizing the largely dormant Universal Service Funds (USF) – a massive $408 million across 34 African countries, sourced from telecommunications providers.
He argued that these funds could revolutionize the creative sectors without legislative entanglements. He emphasized the need for a technological revolution in Africa’s antiquated royalty system, advocating for fair revenue sharing and capitalizing on the continent’s strong presence in mobile money and digital platforms. Soleman also highlighted the responsibility of telecommunications companies. While they benefit significantly from increased data consumption driven by the creative sector, they contribute minimally to the creators themselves.
This disparity can be addressed by strategically reallocating USF funds to empower creators, tackle piracy, and champion authentic African content. Soleman’s vision is clear: reform USF policies and advocate for regulatory frameworks that align with Africa’s digital economy. He urges a united front to overhaul these policies with Afriexim Bank at the forefront, aiming to unlock the true potential of African creativity.
This strategy is more than an economic plan; it’s a movement towards cultural empowerment and sustainability. Soleman’s intervention invites us to recognize and harness Africa’s #CreativeGoldmine, using #TechForFairPlay to propel a thriving #AfricaDigitalRise.